Thursday, February 2, 2012

When Will It End?

I was a skinny little nothing when I was younger. At a time when most girls in my class were developing, I was flat chested with braces and glasses - and not those cute metal frame glasses. I had the giant plastic frames you get for free from the insurance company. My braces were put on when I was in 3rd grade. They stayed on for nine long years. I was teased and bullied. I believe I was called "trap jaw" and "concave" (you can figure the latter out for yourself). I remember it bothering me. I could not wait for my braces to come off but I knew it would be worth it. My smile is now my favorite part of me. Basically, for me, it did get better.

This week a 14 year old girl from Yonkers, New York committed suicide as a result of bullying. She is now added to an unnecessarily long list of people who take their lives because they cannot bear to be mocked any longer. My heart breaks for her, for her family, friends, and neighbors. I cannot imagine how sad her classmates that truly cared for her must feel. However, I wonder about the ones that made fun of her, that bullied her and pushed her towards suicide. Do they care? Will they apologize to her family? Or will they just pick a new victim next week? Because that seems to be how bullying works.

I remember sticking up for my friends when I was younger. I hated to see people get bullied. Why isn't anyone doing this anymore? I can guarantee that if a bully knows that her prey has people willing to stick up for her, she will think twice about bothering that girl. There is strength in numbers. The It Gets Better Project  is proof of this in the LGBT community . But an online presence is not enough. Teachers do not let your students get away with bullying their classmates. Punish them. Notify their parents. Refuse to allow this behavior. Parents do not ignore this. No one wants to lose their child to suicide , so do not allow your child to be a catalyst. Teach them that it is wrong and will not be tolerated at home. Tell them how important it is to let an adult know if they or someone they know is being bullied. Bullying is an epidemic. There are too many news stories about people committing suicide because of it. Instead of saying how sad the situation is, be proactive and help prevent it.

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